As a runner, sometimes the going gets tough. When your legs are tired and there are still miles to go, when you just want to quit and stop, you have to find a way to keep going.
There are many strategies to fight the urge to give in, to beat “the wall,” to push through the “pain cave.” People come up with mantras or quotes to inspire them, some practice visualization. Others try to use sheer will power. One technique I read about recently is to come up with an “alter ego” – to get out of your own head and become someone else; stronger, grittier, tougher. I’ve thought about this for a few days. Who would I be, who would I channel? Wonder Woman? She’s determined and incredibly powerful. Not afraid to get her hands dirty. Maybe Jyn Erso, from the Star Wars movie Rogue One. She was self reliant, cunning, and never gave up, fighting until the very end. Or what about Black Widow, from the Marvel Movies? She’s just badass.
What do I really do when the going gets tough? I fall back on what I know, what has helped me get through some of the most difficult situations I have been in. The thing I have learned to do is call on God and the scripture I have memorized. There really is power in the Word of God.
The Alter Ego I choose to channel is the Apostle Paul, who by the way uses the metaphor of running many times in the New Testament. This is what I do when my legs are tired and I feel like I can’t go on:
…Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1
Run in such as way as to get the prize… 1 Corinthians 9:24
I press on toward the goal… Philippians 3:14
The Apostle Paul knew how to suffer. He was taken prisoner, flogged, beaten, survived 3 shipwrecks, had been in danger of rivers and bandits, gone without sleep, suffered hunger and thirst. (2 Cor 11:16-33) And yet he never stopped believing in the Gospel. He never gave up hope, he continued his course, he had joy in it all. He had peace in it all. How? This is impossible! Yes, it is, without God. But with God, we can have peace, joy, comfort and hope in the middle of whatever we are going through.
Depression started for me around age 15. I have called it the thorn in my flesh because, like the Apostle Paul, God has chosen to not take it away. “My grace is sufficient for you.” I have fought hard with depression and almost let it beat me a few times. I have wanted to quit, to give up. Let me tell you his grace is sufficient. Running is a huge part of keeping depression away. And medication. And my faith. If one piece of this puzzle gets misplaced, I suffer. Running long, it brings you to the end of yourself. You are left raw and exposed. This is where God wants you. This is where He can reach you. When all else is stripped away, He is there, waiting with open arms. This is the place of comfort.
Sometimes life throws you a curve ball. How are you going to handle disappointment, fear, unexpected anything? Whatever situation you find yourself in, seek God.
Don’t worry about anything: instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 TLB
Life is hard. But there is one who walks through the trials with us. One who loves us and who will never leave us. We only need to believe and trust him.